Looking to bounce back after its’ three-game winning streak was snapped last week, Central Connecticut volleyball was able to pick up an important Northeast Conference win Saturday to get back into the thick of things.
CCSU opened its Homecoming weekend of games against the top seed in the NEC, Robert Morris. The Colonials entered the match undefeated in conference play, holding a 6-0 record that sits them atop the NEC standings.
Taking on the daunting task of facing the NEC’s Goliath, the Blue Devils looked prime to play David in the inter-conference match up.
The teams traded leads 11 times through the first set, both setting up long rallies back-and-forth. An ace from freshman Isabelle Roufs helped the Blue Devils snap off a 3-0 run to pull away with a lead. They would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the set, forcing a .150 hitting percentage from the Colonials as they took the first 25-18. The Blue Devils are only the second team to take a set from the Colonials this season, who have won in sweeps in every other game (the other team being Sacred Heart, who likewise lost 3-1).
“We were very prepared going into this match and the execution in the first set was flawless,” head coach Linda Sagnelli said. “They were able to tie together execution with competitiveness and aggressiveness that made the team attitude of ‘here we come.'”
RMU was quick to answer back following its’ first set loss. The Colonials opened up the second with a 7-1 run over the Blue Devils and led by as much as nine before a late push from CCSU. The Blue Devils used a 7-1 run of their own to draw within two of RMU, but an error clinched the second for Robert Morris.
As Robert Morris again began to pull away with the lead late in the third, CCSU stormed back with a four-point run. The Blue Devils were only able to draw within three, however, dropping another close 25-20 set.
The Colonials were quick to end things in the fourth. With the game tied at 10, the Colonials used an 8-1 run to gain one final lead over the Blue Devils to win the fourth 25-16. The Blue Devils had its’ worst hitting percentage in the fourth, going for only .136 against RMU.
The Blue Devils had a quick turnaround following their loss to the Colonials, taking on Saint Francis University at home Saturday.
CCSU held a strong lead over the Red Flash for most of the first set, but SFU used a late push to tie things back up at 17.
As the two teams continued to go back and forth, the Blue Devils had the chance to pull away as the game sat at 22 all. Errors doomed the Blue Devils chance at redemption in the first, with two straight mistakes sealing SFU’s first set win.
After allowing a .257 hitting percentage from SFU in the first, Central would not allow the same success for the rest of the game.
After taking the second, the Blue Devils easily took the third with the help of three aces from Roufs. The Blue Devils led by as much as 10 as they handily took the fourth 25-15, winning the match.
“We just need to learn how to finish the game,” senior Morgan Woycik said. “Today we lost the first set, but ended up getting big leads in second, third and fourth, and that’s exactly what we needed and what we need to do moving forward.”
The Blue Devils improve their conference record to 4-4 on the year, back in the middle of the pack and just a few wins outside of a playoff spot.
Senior Madelyn Kaprelyan posted her fourth straight double-double after securing 15 kills and 11 assists. Junior Emma Henderson landed her third straight with 17 kills and 11 digs.
The Blue Devils will be on the road this weekend, traveling to LIU Friday before taking on Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday.